“Bob Marley, Messenger” Spreads the Love at the Grammy Museum

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I have always had “one love,” and it is music, so Bob Marley and I go way back. Thinking back to my high school days I can faintly hear Bob Marley’s cover of Eric Clapton’s “I Shot the Sheriff” playing in the background of the then “epic” moments of my life: mostly days spent after school hanging out in my friend’s garage.

Now the Grammy Museum is paying homage to the jam-rock genius with Bob Marley, Messenger, an exhibit of more than 40 rare artifacts from his personal life, concerts, and fan memorabilia on display through September.

At the show’s entrance, a giant boom box blasts Marley’s music. From there, a series of rooms showcase artifacts and information about his mentors, family history, and intimate experiences; on one wall visitors can trace the Marley’s complicated family tree (he had many partners and children), on other walls his hats, jackets, and very own acoustic guitars are on display alongside handwritten lyrics, some of which are the first drafts of his now well-known tunes. The walls of the gallery that are not lined in bold green, yellow, and red (a nod to the Jamaican flag) stream video of Marley concerts.

To acknowledge the musician as a messenger, the museum has also dedicated a space where fans can leave messages of remembrance and praise. Rows of them now line the wall, some reading “Your words encourage self reflection and appreciation for people of all walks of life,” “I love you Bob Marley,” and “Your are an inspiration to all.”

The Marley exhibit is located on the bottom level of the museum’s four floors, but I suggest starting from the top and working your way down to get a better sense of the reggae’s place in musical history. Upstairs you’ll see the personal belongings of artists such as Sam Cooke and Taylor Swift, and displays on everything from rockabilly to hip-hop. 

The museum is open daily and general admission is $12.95 for adults, and free for children. As Bob put it, “Let’s get together and feel alright.”

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